Simon Singh poses the question “Could water really have a memory?” in an article about the 20th anniversary of a controversial paper by Jacques Benveniste about whether or not water has memory. This is the principle that underpins the field of Homeopathy.
Of course there is not a shred of evidence to support the claims of homeopathic practitioners (please take note that anecdote does not equal evidence before trying to take issue with that statement) and no one has replicated the results of Benveniste’s tests. None of which is news to me. However I wasn’t aware that:
Benveniste started a spin-off company called DigiBio, which claimed that water could not only have a memory, but that this memory could be digitized, transmitted via email and reintroduced into another sample of water, which in turn could have an impact on living cells.
Mmm, yes, well. The amount of nonsense that emanates from the world of woo knows no limits.
That aside, Simon Singh goes on to suggest why homeopathy remains a lucrative practice:
…homeopaths are convinced by Benveniste’s idea of digital homeopathy and are even willing to sell such remedies over the internet.
…for $1,000 you could go online and buy yourself a digital homeopathy software kit and start treating yourself and others today.
Is it any wonder that people are desperate to promote the notion that a substance that has been so diluted that no trace of it remains can offer a cure? If that much money can be made for peddling this crap and there are people naive enough to buy it then the homeopathy bandwagon will just keep on rolling.
And for those who claim that homeopathy is not fully understood, or who think it works but don’t know why. Well, it is well understood – it ‘works’ as a result of the placebo effect! Good places to find out about this are Bad Science and any of the articles in the homeopathy category over on DC’s Improbable Science.